Twitter chats can boost student voice, enhance digital citizenship
- Educators can utilize Twitter chats in the classroom to complement lessons in digital literacy and citizenship, give and receive immediate feedback in relation to students' ideas, and utilize hashtags to track conversation participation, Dr. Jennifer Davis Bowman writes in an Edutopia article.
- Educators should fully prepare ahead of time by deciding how they'll host the chat, ensuring the public nature of the platform is OK with parents, and communicating the reasoning for the chat format to students. During the chat itself, they'll want to guide students on comment intensity and type while keeping them on topic.
- Following the chat, teachers should take advantage of an analytic tool to measure effectiveness and participation. Bowman also suggests that teachers help students make connections between the chat and curricular content, reflect on the use of their voice in the exercise and gather their own thoughts on the format's effectiveness.
Twitter chats can be a valuable asset in teaching students digital citizenship, instilling the knowledge that public posts leave a digital history of a user's actions online and that those actions can eventually come back to haunt them. Learning how to engage in respectful discourse online can then extend to or branch out from lessons on doing the same face-to-face — a skill often seemingly lost in today's political environment, where many on both sides often opt to shout down those opposed to them.
For administrators, Twitter chats also provide an opportunity to gain student and parent perspectives while giving them more voice in what's going on within a school or district. For students especially, that sense of having their voice heard can lead to greater engagement and success. As with all chats and discussion forums, this will also require clarity around ground rules for engagement ahead of time, but it can provide a rewarding experience for all involved. Schools are increasingly providing students with more opportunities to share their voices on matters at school and in their communities, but sometimes the biggest hurdle can be "letting go and allowing kids to lead."
- Edutopia Facilitating a Class Twitter Chat
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